VLF Force 1 is a Made in Michigan monster

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

VLF Automotive may be the smallest automaker on the Detroit Show Floor but it sports two of the industry’s biggest names. Legendary ex-GM and Chrysler product chief Bob Lutz and former-Aston Martin designer Henrik Fisker teamed up to introduce their latest creation Tuesday: The 2017 VPL Force 1 supercar.

Fortunately, they didn’t fire up the monster’s 8.4-liter, 745-horsepower engine or it might have cracked Cobo’s foundation.

The Force 1 will reach 218 mph and launch from zero-60 mpg in just 3.0 seconds. Built on a Dodge Viper SRT frame with an entirely new, carbon-fiber skin designed by Fisker, the Force 1 is a muscle car for the 21st century. The VLF display, located inside Cobo Center for the first time this year, also features the production-ready VLF Destino, the company’s first supercar effort unveiled in Detroit in 2013.

The 638-horsepower, V-8 Destino sedan is built on the plug-in electric chassis from Fisker’s troubled Karma vehicle venture, which recently emerged from bankruptcy. Both cars will be Made in Michigan. The Force 1 platform will be supplied by FCA from its Connor Avenue, Detroit plant and the V10 Viper engine sourced from Daytona 24-Hour race winner, Ben Keating, from his shop in Houston, Texas. Keating is also the country’s largest Viper dealer.

“Both the sedan and coupe will be assembled in Auburn Hills with 30 employees,” said Lutz. “Chrysler’s ‘Imported from Detroit’ tagline really touched a nerve. We believe there is a hunger for Detroit-made products like Shinola.”

The Force One will start at $268,000, and the Destino at $229,000. Production will initially be limited to 100 cars per year.

While the Force 1 is built on the familiar bones of the Viper, it will feature bigger, 21-inch wheels, a plush leather-and-alcantara interior, and unique, ultra-thin, LED headlights made especially for the car.

“They are super modern,” says Fisker. “No one has done lights like these before. The taillights are the thinnest in the world.”

VLF represents the initials of entrepreneur and manufacturer Gilbert Villarreal, Lutz, and Fisker. “I’m the figurehead, Henrik is the chief designer, and Gilbert knows how to make” the cars, said Lutz.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @HenryEPayne.